First Parade and Games. The members of the Valley Hunt Club voted to stage, on January 1, 1890, a parade of flower-decorated horse-and-buggies and an afternoon of public games on the “town lot” east of Los Robles between Colorado and Santa Fe. The parade was to resemble the West's version of the festival of roses in Nice, France.
Following the parade, young men competed in a variety of foot races, tugs of war, jousts and a tourney of rings – an old Spanish game in which mounted horsemen, each carrying a 12-foot lance, try to spear three rings hung about thirty feet apart while riding at top speed. The tourney of rings, coupled with the floral displays prompted Professor Holder, the first president, to say, “Now we have the name we want – The Tournament of Roses.” More than 2,000 people attended the first Tournament.